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Aging Pipe Tobacco

J.S.J.S. Posts: 754
OK. here is the basic idea. I will post things that I have read/learned and comment on what works does not work. I have only been smoking pipes for a little over 4 yrs now so your mileage may vary. Taste is subjective so use what you can and add anything you have found helpful too. I have much to learn.


  • J.S.J.S. Posts: 754
    First up Russ O. of P&C says: How does one go about aging tobacco? If you mostly purchase tins, the process is simpler, but has its caveats. If you mostly purchase vacuum-sealed tins (the flat tins with screw threads or need to be popped with a coin), be aware that leaving the tobacco in that tin will allow it to age, but relatively slowly. The lack of oxygen in the tins reduces the effect of aging, according to no less an authority than Greg Pease. The tins used by Cornell & Diehl, G.L. Pease, McClelland and our own Hearth & Home tobaccos are not vacuum-sealed, so the oxygen content of the tin is better suited to aging.

    If you are aging bulk tobacco, or are looking to age tobacco from vacuum-sealed tins, the preferred method is to use mason jars (like the ones used for jarring preserves and pickles), but the method is different than you would use for food products. Fill the jars about ¾ of the way, leaving enough air space to allow for maturation. Whereas you would usually put these jars in a bath of boiling water for food preservation, that extreme heat would change the tobacco, so draw hot tap water (temperature below 140° F) into your sink, and place the jars in the sink so that the water is about as high as the level of tobacco in the jar. Let them sit in the water for about 15 minutes, and screw the lids in place. Remove them from the sink, and as they cool, a light vacuum will pull the lids tightly into place. Some folks like to use a vacuum sealer and bags to age tobacco, but this has the same problem as vacuum-sealed tins. Using ziplock bags or Tupperware type containers just won’t work as there will be too much air exchange, and the tobacco will dry out.
  • J.S.J.S. Posts: 754
    My thoughts. The tin issue is spot on. The aging issue is well a major pain. I admit I am type A but keeping the water level right, keeping the water temp right requires a lot of time and basically emptying and refilling the sink every few jars.

    Does it work? Yes, every jar that I have done using this method seals but a couple ended up bitter tasting. Could that be from the heating process even for just the short 15 min.? I don't know.
  • J.S.J.S. Posts: 754
    This is G.L. Pease take from his website FAQ's: Sterilize your jars, fill them up, and put the caps on. What purpose will heating serve? The jars will seal fine without the “pop” of the slight vacuum that results from cooling.
  • J.S.J.S. Posts: 754
    My experience here is hit and miss. Will the jars seal, most do eventually pulling the pop part of the lid down but not all of them will. Those that do seal are very lightly sealed so things like moving them will cause the lip to pop. Those that never seal, while still air tight don't seem to change at least not over the course of a couple of years or so. Yes, Lat. will mellow but I think it will do that just fine anyway setting in an open tin over a few months if it did not dry out. The key for me is that the seal of the slight vacuum does seem to make a difference.
  • J.S.J.S. Posts: 754
    So . . . for the past yr. I have played with a new idea tweaking both of the above. First, I don't work with heat so if you run a blast furnace or weld, then you will need to tweak this too. I boil all jars to sterilize. However, I keep the water boiling and take out a few jars at a time. Once they get to the point that my hands can hold them without too much discomfort I fill them and stick them in the frig all lids have sealed very well. No popped lids so far. The jars I have opened at the 6 month mark all are from blends I have smoked and are exactly what I think they should taste like.
  • dr_frankenstein56dr_frankenstein56 Posts: 1,612 ✭✭✭
    I never really put much thought into any of that. I suppose maybe I should.

    Ive always just stuffed open tins into mason jars, added a pipe coin and called it good. I always thought some tobaccos are like a fine wine, and a moment to breath sometimes helps the smoke.

    I might try the vacuum sealing.

  • J.S.J.S. Posts: 754
    Letting air get to the tobacco stops the aging process. You can restart it but it is like starting over, first the tobacco has to use up the air that it has been exposed to and then the process begins again.

    I have used those pipe coins too. However, I have found that while these work for for storage to age, if it is a little on the dry side it is better to add the moister back in to the tobacco before putting it in the jar and leave the coin out. I also have not used one in about a yr for storage. What I am doing now with blends I love and think they have potential is use the 8 oz. jars. Blends I know will age and I want several lbs. I have went to 32 oz. jars. When I open one of those as I go through it I transfer into a 16oz when 1/2 full to help keep it from drying out. It seems like the more room for air in a jar the quicker it will dry out so by keeping the jars at least half full it keeps the tobacco from drying out too quickly.
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